The couple on the plane

I’ve recently come back from a trip to Dubai where I spent half of my days sick, and the other drowned in studies and projects and everything you don’t want to be doing on a ten-day breather.

But yes, I was, as I usually am, immersed in my own personal puddle of stress.

As the last day had arrived I hurried to the airport, hopped onto my plane and still managed to work on my project that was due in a couple of days. Yes, I did my project eleven thousand kilometers off the ground. I DID IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS.

Back to my reality: I read what was written on my boarding pass


7F, okay, great, it’s right here.

I quickly sat down and waited for the pilot to mumble incomprehensible words into his microphone to tell us he wishes us a very pleasant hsfdkbbkhzhdi.

Just as I was getting comfortable in my designated seat after I’ve put my handbag in the designated area and almost everyone on the plane was doing their designated things, two people approached my row and looked at both the empty seats next to me, recognizing that these were in fact, their designated places to be, so they said hi, sat down and immediately attached and tightened their seat belts.

They were a cute couple, both a little over 60 something years of age; they both looked pleased to be traveling back to Lebanon, but there was a hint of blueness and not-wanting-to-go-back that I recognized immediately.

After a few moments of being in the air, and after the seat belt sign was switched off, sure enough, I had gotten out my notepad and my laptop to carry on with my project.

The woman next to me started talking to her husband, and then looking at me; then talked to her husband again, then they both looked at me discretely and smiled. I felt like she’s been wanting to say something so bad, and she finally did.

“Are you studying?”

There it was, the moment of truth.

“Yes” I smiled.

“We saw you working when we were in the waiting area, it looks like you have a lot to do!” They both looked at me and flashed a warm smile.

The conversation went on, and after a few “my biggest hopes and dreams in life are” and “where I’m heading with my life” questions away, they told me I had reminded them of their eldest daughter back when she was in university. Her two, back then was  drenched in her puddle of stress.

“She now lives in Dubai.”

I quickly understood the reason behind their bittersweet return.

“We miss her already.”

The conversation ended after they wished me lots of success in my projects and my life, goals and dreams. They also provided me with an endless supply of cookies and Panadol, which warmed my heart. The cookies not the Panadol. Although I was grateful for both.


Right before we arrived at our final destination, the woman next to me says “Yalla?” to her husband. Asking him if the time has come [to do something].

I patiently awaited his response with excitement, to see what she meant.

Her husband nods, and she takes out literally the biggest bag I have ever seen someone stuff under their tiny plane seat. The bag was overflowing with medicine for everything and anything you can think of.

She quickly looked through her giant magical well of a bag and grabbed the eye drops. She turned around, facing her husband to ask him if he was ready. I saw him prepare himself (mentally and physically), as she reached over his head in order to drop the liquid into his eyes.

It was literally the cutest and most disturbing thing I’ve seen happen on a plane. I urge you to imagine the scenario of a sixty something year old couple next to you on an airplane; the woman hovering over her husband, preparing him mentally for eye drops she’s about to give him.

He giggled as a tiny drop slid down his cheeks, and she sat back down in her seat. He thanks her and she smiles back.

The plane had finally landed, and after wishing each other “Al hamilla 3al salémé“, we all ended up going our separate ways, but it’ll be hard for me not to remember this little couple and their little moment. I hope they won’t easily forget it either.



5 thoughts on “The couple on the plane”

  1. I love your airplane stories Rim! Bottom line, you sat down there chatting, watching and not doing any work on your project… cool

  2. This post has such nice flow and you are a great observer of people -I liked the “cutest and most uncomfortable” part and your good writing shares a story with layers.

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